Connecting an RV to a Full Hook-up

TheRVgeeks Plumbing 6 Comments

Connecting an RV to full hookups at an RV park or campground isn’t too difficult, but if you’ve never done it before, this quick tutorial will get you started. Even if you’ve been RVing for years, you might pick up a quick tip or two to improve your routine.

For example, do you spray disinfectant on your campsite’s water spigot before you connect your water hose? If not, think about one of the last things you do when disconnecting… you rinse out your sewer hose. Of course that means the RVer who used your site last night probably did the same thing. Think about that for a second, and if you don’t already keep a can of Lysol in your water compartment, you’ll probably get one pretty quick. wink

We love boondocking (camping without RV hook-ups), taking full advantage of our ability to live comfortably off the grid for extended periods. But there’s something wonderful about taking a regular shower vs a navy shower, microwaving dinner without firing up the generator and watching TV late at night without depleting your house batteries.

These luxuries require hooking up in a campground. When it comes time to connect to water, sewer and electric, following a few standard procedures can make your stay a better one.

For more detail about using Dogbone adapters to connect to different size RV power outlets, check out another of our videos:

Plugging in an RV (Dog Bones 101)

You can also view our video “RV Holding Tank Dumping 1-2-3

For a REALLY thorough black tank cleaning, see our more complete video “Dumping & Cleaning an RV Black Tank“.

When our old, inferior sewer hose support fell apart after only a year, we bought a Slunky brand. It’s now 9 years old, and still works perfectly. You can find it, and our high-flow water pressure regulator on Amazon.

Featured & Related Products:

We're handy RVers, not professional technicians. We're happy with the techniques and products we use, but be sure to confirm that all methods and materials you use are compatible with your equipment and abilities. Regardless of what we recommend, consult a professional if you're unsure about working on your RV. Any task you perform or product you purchase based on any information we provide is strictly at your own risk.

We sometimes receive products for evaluation at no cost, and The RVgeeks are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. But our opinions are our own, you won’t pay an extra penny, and we only link to products we personally use, love and can recommend to friends with complete confidence.

Comments 6

  1. Hi there! I’ve decided to sell my house,buy some land and a nice 5th wheel to live in completely stationary for a few years to save money & live smaller. I have questions about trying into my sewer system and what it will mean for dumping, grey water, black water, etc. I would think I could treat it just like a regular house toilet but that seems too easy. Thanks!

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      Hi Amy! Cool! Sounds like an exciting plan! The short answer to your question is that you’re right… that’s too easy! 😉 With any RV hooked up to the sewer system, you still have to treat the toilet & black tank as if you weren’t. You need to leave the black valve closed until the black tank is full enough to dump. If you don’t, and you leave the black valve open, what happens is called “pyramiding.” With the valve open, all of the liquids that get flushed flow right out. But the solids are left behind. Over time, that will cause some serious issues… as you can probably imagine (sorry, hope you’re not eating, LOL!).

      It’s up to you whether or not you want to leave the gray valve open while you’re hooked up (we do… but there are other people who will tell you that you shouldn’t, to keep sewer flies and other pests out… we’ve just never had a problem with either of those in 17+ years of full-time RVing). If you do leave it open, you can use water that runs into the sinks and shower as you would in a normal house… since it just flows right out of the gray tank and down the sewer. When the black tank fills enough to need dumping, close the gray valve (or valves… fifth wheels often have more than one gray tank) the day before. That lets the gray tank(s) fill with some water so that after you dump the black, you can pull the gray valve(s) and have a rush of gray water clean your sewer hose of the “black” stuff. 😷 Then you can repeat.

      Couple of other quick thoughts:

      • Be sure to ask, or find out, what the setup is with all of the sinks on any fifth wheel you buy. Some of them will be plumbed so that water from one of the bathroom sinks goes into the black tank (to add more liquid to the tank to help it dump more effectively). You’ll want to be aware of that if yours is plumbed that way so you don’t overflow the black tank by mistake.
      • If you do want to leave your gray valve open so that you don’t have to keep an eye on the level in the gray tank, you can also put a bit of an “elbow” in the sewer line to act like a “P” trap under your sink (see this video)… it stays filled with water and prevents odor/critters from coming up your sewer hose (again… we’ve never had that happen, but other people have).
      • If you think a “couple of years” could be more like 3 or 4, you may want to consider a more home-like option like a park model or tiny home. Those would be plumbed into the sewer system just like a house, so you wouldn’t have to deal with tanks at all. Wouldn’t be moveable (i.e. if you wanted to take the fifth on vacation during that time), but might be more comfortable… especially if where you’re planning to stay is prone to extremely cold temps.

      Hope this helps!! Wishing you the best of luck!

  2. I am having a tough time finding the correct fittings to connect the sewer hose from my travel trailer to the drain coming out of the side of my house. Most drains are in the ground and you simply insert the end of the hose. This is becoming quite the headache because no one seems to know what I am talking about so they don’t know what fittings I need. I am brand new to this stuff and I think it should be easier. So do you know what connections I would need to connect to the drain coming out of my house? I have pictures but I can’t seem to attach them here. Thanks so much for any help

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      Hi Garrison. Sorry you’re having such difficulties! We’re not familiar with the type of drain you’re trying to connect to… and we don’t have a means for you to upload pictures here. If you can upload them somewhere else online and provide links to them, we’d be happy to take a look at them to see if we have any suggestions. But it might be easier if you brought the RV sewer connection you’re using into a plumbing or big box hardware store to see if they can help you piece together what you need.

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